As she reflects on her health journey, Lena Dunham is proud of how far she’s come.
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“What a difference a year makes,” Dunham started. “First photo was indeed a year ago today, on the first night after my hysterectomy for severe endometriosis. I was smiling but my eyes say it all: full of anxiety and grief that I couldn’t locate through the layers of pain meds and benzos.”
“Severe undiagnosed PTSD, feelings that my worth and purpose were being taken from me, angry and self-pitying with no sense of how I’d emerge,” she continued. “Plus, my hair had fallen out in odd clumps and I’d taken it upon myself to dye what remained electric blue cuz if you’re gonna spiral why not SPIRAL.”
The hysterectomy was not the end of Dunham’s health difficulties. In October, she had her left ovary removed to address remaining pain.
“The second pic was taken tonight, happy joyous and (substance) free,” Dunham added in the Instagram post. In October, Dunham revealed on Dax Shepard‘s podcast Armchair Expert that she was six months sober after kicking her use of Klonopin, which she took for anxiety.
“The last year hasn’t been all roses and Kenny G songs, but it’s been proof enough for me in the presence of the divine,” she reflected. “The divine- it’s been there in the kindness of my family, friends, chronically ill folks online. It’s also been there in the moments where I cried myself to sleep, shocked by the sounds coming out of me.”
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“It’s in the light slanting on my comforter, the resilience of my best friend’s baby clonking her head then giggling, the new hairs sprouting at my temples. Mostly I’ve found it in my own strength, because who the f— knew,” she wrote. “And I don’t mean strength as in powering through. I mean strength as in vulnerability, feeling it all, taking it as it comes and dancing even with a hospital grade pad in my underwear.”
“I surprised myself,” Dunham concluded. “I bet you can surprise yourself too.”
Dunham’s post spoke to others struggling with health problems. “Thanks for reminding me it’s gonna get better,” wrote a fan who had surgery earlier in November.
The actress replied, “Every day it’s getting better and one day it IS better.”
“This gives me hope through my chronic pain, one year can make a difference,” another person wrote.
“I never could have imagined and I didn’t have to do much but surrender, my love,” Dunham answered.
Dunham has celebrated her progress in the past. In August, in honor of the 9-month anniversary of the hysterectomy, she posted a series of nude selfies.
“I’ve never celebrated the 9 month anniversary of anything and I realized last night why that number feels so funny- I won’t ever do it the way I planned to,” she captioned the pictures at the time. “My body is mostly healed and every day I find a new bruise on my heart, but today I offer myself gratitude: from the most pained place, I somehow knew to choose myself.”